The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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SMU anticipates Moody reopening

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SMU, Buildings, Miller Event Center, interior and exterior.

 

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As the Mustangs begin their 2013-2014 basketball season, the SMU community anxiously awaits the reopening of Moody Coliseum. Throughout the past year, the 57-year-old campus and Dallas landmark has undergone a $47 million renovation project that revitalizes the stadium as a dominant collegiate sports arena and multi-purpose facility.

The first basketball games in the newly-renovated Moody Coliseum will take place in a double-header Jan. 4, in which the men’s team will take on University of Connecticut and the women’s team will compete against The University of South Florida. However, the community will get a first glance of the Moody Coliseum transformation during SMU’s December Commencement ceremony on the 21st.

“The renovation of Moody Coliseum enhances a valuable resource that serves as a gathering place convenient to the entire region,” SMU President R. Gerald Turner said. “Programs ranging from academic ceremonies to George W. Bush Presidential offerings to athletic events will attract tens of thousands to SMU.”

The Moody Coliseum renovation project was largely backed by a generous $20 million gift from the Moody Foundation in 2011.

One of the most significant new attractions in the Coliseum will be The Miller Center, a project made possible through an additional $10 million donation from SMU alumnus and trustee David Miller ’72, ‘73 and his wife Carolyn Miller. Named in the couple’s honor, The Miller Center is a prominent addition to the north side of Moody Coliseum featuring The Miller Champions Club — a 5,000-square-foot furnished entertainment area on the concourse level — and 12 suites with courtside views, as well as additional resources to support student athletes and coaches.

While the renovation and expansion project maintains the historical spirit of Moody Coliseum, several modern enhancements are featured to add to the overall event experience for the public. For instance, the refurbished Moody Coliseum will allow for luxury suites, loge seating, wider concourses and raised ceilings, improved concessions, and upgraded restrooms and locker rooms. Updating the technology as well, other improvements include new video boards, scoreboards, sound system, broadcast capabilities and heating and cooling systems.

“I’m most excited about our ability to provide almost half the courtside seating to students,” said Senior Associate Athletic Director for Public Relations and Marketing Brad Sutton. “Students can provide a real home-court advantage and our plan to put students on the floor will provide a great experience for them, while creating an amazing in-game atmosphere.”

As the long-awaited anticipation for the reopening of Moody Coliseum gets closer by the day, more and more talk about the “better than ever before” basketball program circulates around the SMU community. Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams are currently a large part of history in the making as they will not only be the first SMU teams ever to debut in the newly renovated Moody Coliseum, but this year also marks the first year in which SMU basketball has progressed to compete in the American Athletic Conference.

“I hope the curiosity of the new facility and the reopening of Moody will draw large crowds, not only for the men’s team, but for the women’s team as well,” said SMU senior and women’s basketball player, Raven Short. “Once the facility draws fans in, I hope that our team’s skill and charisma will keep them coming — we are really a special group that works hard.”

Led by Head Coach Rhonda Rompola, the women’s basketball team holds a current record of 8-1 for the season thus far, while the men’s team, led by Head Coach Larry Brown, holds a record of 8-2. As a part of the American Athletic Conference, SMU has the opportunity to compete against some of the nation’s most talented teams. The new conference consists of former members of the Big East and Conference USA and includes both the three-time NCAA champion University of Connecticut, and defending NCAA champion University of Louisville.

“We have already seen a huge uptick in interest for SMU Basketball. Tickets are selling at a record pace and we anticipate a packed house on January 4,” Sutton said.

The success of both teams so far this season coupled with the highly anticipated opening of Moody Coliseum has generated a great deal of excitement among the student body.

“It’s our responsibility to provide the support our team needs to continue to compete competitively and make it to the NCAA tournament,” SMU senior Mallorie Holguin said. “And who isn’t excited about having a team compete in the tournament? March Madness is one of the best sporting events in the U.S.”

Legend has it that “Moody Magic” contributes to consistent wins at home for Mustang teams. Let’s hope that the reopening of Moody Coliseum can help contribute to SMU Basketball’s winning streak throughout the rest of this season and well into playoffs.

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